I’ve been passionate about fitness ever since age 10. I bought my first weightlifting set during the summer between 4th and 5th grade. And in the more than 30 years since then, I’ve managed to make just about every mistake a person can make with exercise and nutrition.
What kinds of mistakes? Jogging, all sorts of sports conditioning drills, the StairMaster, lifting weights the way everybody else does, treadmills, double split routines (training in the morning and also the evening on the same day), stretching, plyometrics, etc., etc., etc. I worked out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. You name it, I did it. “Those don’t sound like mistakes” you may be thinking to yourself. And at the time, I didn’t think so either. I considered all of those things to be healthy and good for me. It wasn’t until I managed to wreck both my knees and my left shoulder by the time I was in my early 20’s that I found out differently. I learned too late that the high-force physical activities that I thought were healthy, instead were prematurely wearing out my joints several decades too early.
I managed to err significantly in the realm of nutrition too. At one point I even gained 50 pounds of extra fat from a nutrition idea that’s popular in the weight training world. When taking into account my worn out joints and significant body fat fluctuations, my enthusiasm for fitness had initially resulted in a body that was less healthy than if I’d never pursued exercise at all.
In some ways, though, my mistakes in fitness have been blessings in disguise. For example, losing the excess 50 pounds of fat and keeping it off has helped give me practical, real life knowledge that’s helped the clients I’ve worked with to lose fat themselves. My mistakes have also given me a lot of first hand experience regarding what not to do, what doesn’t work well, what’s dangerous, and what’s a waste of time. I learned the hard way that a lot of traditional gym dogma isn’t very effective, is instead often harmful to peoples’ joints, and needlessly wastes countless hours of peoples’ lives.
Fortunately, in 1992 I stumbled upon a book by Ellington Darden, Ph.D., which changed the course of my life. Darden’s book was my first exposure to the slow-motion strength training method, and it launched my personal investigation into learning about more rational principles of exercise. I learned that even though slow-motion strength training makes the muscles work harder than other weight training methods, it minimizes the impact forces the joints get exposed to, so it’s safer. (My knees and shoulder have been rejoicing ever since I learned this!) I also experienced that by making my muscles work much harder than I had before, I was able to add 10 pounds of body shaping lean muscle tissue in my first 9 days of slow-motion strength training.
No more working out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. The new workouts were intense, but briefer and less frequent. I was looking and feeling better than I ever had. No more joint pain. I was hooked!
During this same time I was completing my bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. I was happy to land a job at GE as an engineer right after graduating. However, after 11 months of working there, I saw my life flashing before my eyes on the second floor of Building J on the GE complex, and I didn’t like what I saw. Engineering wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. So, I quit my engineering job and made the rather unusual switch to become a personal trainer at a local gym in San Jose, California, where I was living at the time. I was ecstatic to be working in fitness, the field that I’m passionate about. And I dreamed of someday opening my own facility devoted exclusively to more enlightened exercise practices.
After three additional years of learning from some of the brightest minds in fitness, I was ready. I moved to San Diego and in 1999 opened The Perfect Workout, providing personal training with a focus on slow-motion strength training – the most efficient, effective, and joint-safe form of exercise I’ve come across. In the beginning I was a “one man show” – I performed every single job in the company, from CEO to personal trainer to bookkeeper to janitor and everything in between. Since that time our company has been fortunate to grow much larger, and we’re passionately spreading our company’s mission: to Revolutionize the Way People Exercise.
I don’t want you to suffer from the same mistakes that I made. I don’t want you to wear out your knees decades too early. I don’t want you to waste your precious time on inefficient and ineffective exercise methods. I want fitness for you to be safer, more efficient, and effective.
Thanks for letting me share my personal fitness journey with you, and letting you know how it’s shaped what our company is today.